Top 10 to Preventing Colorectal Cancer
Low-fat diet -
Diets high in
and cholesterol (especially from animal sources) have been linked to an
increased risk of colorectal cancer. Red meat may also contribute to colon
cancer by virtue of its high iron content. Both high dietary iron and high
serum (blood) iron have been associated with increased risk to colon cancer.
Iron and fat both decrease manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in
the cells lining the colon. Manganese SOD has tumor suppressive activity and
has been found lacking in most colon tumors. Supplementation with manganese
can increase the activity of this enzyme. Iron is also a necessary nutrient
for the growth of strains of intestinal bacteria that contribute to colon
cancer. Iron may additionally contribute to colorectal cancer by spurring the
production of highly destructive free radicals, which can convert
procarcinogens to carcinogens and can also directly damage genetic material.
This process is augmented by components of bile.
To reduce fat in your diet, you can change your eating and
Major sources of fat are meat, eggs, dairy products, and oils used in cooking
and salad dressings.
Increase Fiber Intake
Low-fiber diets have also been
associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber also leads to
reduced production of secondary bile acids, adsorbs bile acids, increases
fecal bulk thus diluting carcinogens, speeds
transit time , tends to reduce caloric intake, and lowers pH by the production of
short chain fatty acids. It is important to consume both soluble and insoluble
fibers to gain all these benefits. The National Cancer Institute recommends a
high-fiber diet that includes at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
each day. To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, eat more vegetables,
fruits, and whole-grain
breads and cereals.
Get a genetic test done -
People who carry genetic mutations linked
to hereditary colorectal cancer are the
most likely to develop the disease.
Individuals who carry the mutation that causes Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
(FAP) have almost a 100% chance of developing colorectal cancer by age 45.
Someone who carries mutations linked to Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal
Cancer (HNPCC) can have up to an 80% risk of developing the disease. FAP and
HNPCC are the most common types of hereditary colorectal cancer. To catch any
abnormalities or problems early, you will need regular
checkups from your
doctor, including a rectal exam, fecal occult blood test, and possibly a sigmoidoscopy. Screening recommendations depend upon an individual's risk of
colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is recommended starting at age 50 and
repeated every 10 years.
alcohol intake - People who drink more than one alcoholic
beverage a day tend to develop colorectal cancer more often than those who do
not drink alcohol.
Birth control pills
- Women who take birth control pills for at least
5 years have a lower risk of colon cancer. However, birth control pills can
raise the risk of
heart attacks and stroke. Talk with your
doctor about whether you should take birth control pills.
Take a multivitamin with folate daily -
People who take a
folate every day have a lower risk of colon cancer. Folate
is one of the
B vitamins, which helps keeps cells in the colon from becoming
cancerous. Folate is a B-complex vitamin, which may protect the genetic
material in cells, such as DNA. Folate is found in green, leafy vegetables,
wheat germ and fortified whole grain cereals to name a few.
activity level -
inactive, you're more likely to develop colon cancer, although not rectal
cancer. This may be because when you're inactive, waste stays in your colon
longer. Getting regular
physical activity may reduce your risk of colon
cancer. A person is considered physically active if they exercise for
at least 30 minutes a day.
Keep your weight in check-
women, excess body
weight is a statistically significant risk factor for the development of
colorectal cancer, according to results of a new study. There have been
consistent observational data that have suggested high
body mass index is a
risk factor for colon and rectal cancer among
women at younger age. But
excess body weight is a controversial risk factor for colorectal cancer among
postmenopausal women. Dr. Paul Limburg of the University of Minnesota in
Minneapolis and colleagues assessed excess body weight, defined as a BMI > 25,
as a predictor of incident colorectal cancer among 35,354 women in the
prospective Iowa Women's Health Study.
Don't smoke -
As many as 20% of all colorectal cancer
cases may be
related to tobacco use, and colorectal cancer should be added to the growing
list of tobacco-associated malignancies, according to a study in Cancer
Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (Volume 10, No. 7: 725-731).
Duration of smoking is more important than volume in raising cancer risk,
although volume certainly does play a role. colorectal cancer risk also is
elevated in people who have smoked cigars for 20 years or more.
Inflammatory intestinal conditions
Long standing inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis
and Crohn's disease, can increase your risk.
When it comes to attacking those last two points, you can reduce your
overall cancer risk by consuming a plant-based diet of fruits,
vegetable oils, whole grains and legumes, and by maintaining your weight. In
addition, current research has supported the relationship between folate,
calcium and lutein and the prevention of colorectal cancers.
Dated 02 March 2013